How Does Our Water Get to Us?

It’s wild to think about, but most people couldn’t tell you where their water comes from. You just turn on the tap everyday and out it pours. Or so it seems. In fact, the water you use everyday came quite a ways to get to you.

Ben Franklin Plumbing wants to tell the story of your water. It’s a story about science, creativity, hard work, and a mutant fluke monster (we may have made one of those up). We’ll start from the beginning. Here’s where your water comes from, and how it gets to you.

Who Provides It?

The tap water in the greater Dallas area is provided by the Dallas Water Utilities Department. Water Utilities is responsible for collecting, treating, and transferring the city’s water to citizens. They also process and treat the city’s wastewater. Basically, Dallas Water Utilities makes every step of the process we’re about to describe possible.

Where Does It Come From?

Dallas draws all of its raw (pre-treated) water from seven natural reservoirs: LewisvilleGrapevineRay HubbardTawakoniRay RobertsFork, and Lavon. Water flows out of reservoirs down large pipes or aqueducts, gravity-assisted by dams and the natural terrain.

How Is It Treated?

The transfer pipes transport reservoir water to one of three water treatment plants: East Side, Elm Fork, and Bachman. Dallas Water Utilities uses a meticulous process of chemical treatment, settling, filtering, and disinfection to treat the reservoir water. The facility combines chlorine and ammonia to make chloramine, which disinfects the water. Lime and iron sulfate additives filter out filament and other solid materials while helping to fight pipe corrosion. Carbon activated in the water prevents bad tastes or odors. Like most US cities, Dallas Water Utilities also adds fluoride to the water supply during this step to help prevent tooth decay.

Dallas’ water treatment plants can process up to 900 million gallons of water per day (the record high water use was on September 4, 2000, when Dallas used 789.6 million gallons of water!). In the last two years, Dallas’ water treatment plants supplied 135 billion gallons of treated water to its service area. These three treatment facilities make Dallas’ tap water safe to drink and use.

How Does It Get To Us?

After the water is treated, it’s sent to one of Dallas’ 22 pump stations. The pump stations pressurize the water and shoot it out through the city main line, which runs beneath the entire surrounding area of Dallas. The water pumping process also supplies our water pressure, which is how water has enough momentum to shoot up and through home water lines and out of faucets.

All the water you use in your home every day, whether in your sinks, your shower, or your toilets, originally came from one of seven lakes near Dallas!  Depending on where you live, your water may have traveled hundreds of miles to reach you!

This story is only the beginning of your water’s journey. Next week, we’ll cover how your home plumbing system receives, transfers, and directs your water so it ends up where you want it when you need it! You’ll never look at your tap water the same way again.